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Luciano Baldessari Collection (1915-1980)

Location: CASVA

The collection of the works by Luciano Baldessari, architect and artist (Rovereto 1896-Milan 1982), bought by the City Council of Milan for the CASVA, belonged to the collection of architect Zita Mosca Baldessari who had dedicated some rooms of her professional studio to it.
The corpus - made up of 1,062 drawings, tempera, water colour, collages and other technique works and tridimensional models - has been divided into four tranches that the City Council of Milan purchased between 2002 and 2005.
Each chronological tranche of the collection sums up the method of working and the intimate relationship among the different artistic disciplines which were typical of the architect from Trentino. We can say that, comparing this collection with the one containing Baldessari’s private correspondence - kept at the Rovereto MART - and the one regarding the technical drawings and the professional correspondence - belonging to the Politecnico di Milano-the City Council of Milan’s Archive has got more outstanding artistic features. Actually it mainly emphasizes the pictorial and expressive elements, always present in Baldessari’s works, beyond his technical skill and professional attitude.
The first part of the collection, bought in 2002, includes works of painting, set and interior design made from 1915 to 1938.
This sector of the collection mirrors the years of Baldessari’s training and first Futurist production, up to the precocious rationalist approach, including the period of Berlin “expressionist” scenery (1923-25).
In the second part of the collection, got in 2003, there are works (some series of water colours made in Italy and France) dating from 1925 to the end of the war (Stabilimento Italcima a Milano, 1935 in collaboration with Gi˛ Ponti, Palazzo della CiviltÓ Italiana all’E42,Rome, 1937, the plans for the Fontana nel parco della Triennale, Milan 1957 and the Fontana del Risparmio, Milan 1961-62).
The third part of the civic collection testifies to Baldessari’s activity for the temporary and permanent exhibitions in Italy and abroad, particularly: the Art Gallery in the Sforza Castle in Milan, the E. Arden Theatre of Fashion in New York, the IX Triennale di Milano, the exhibitions dedicated to the Etruscan Art and Civilization (Milan, 1955) to Modigliani (Milan 1958), van Gogh (Milan 1952), Segantini (Arco di Trento 1958), Romanino (Brescia 1965), Fontana (Milan 1972).
There are also blueprints made for the building of monuments in Milan, New York, Rovereto, Giubiano (VA) and for the sets of plays performed in Milan between 1929 and 1931.
The third archive tranche includes fifteen pictorial works (in pencil, pastels, water colours, India ink and other techniques) made between 1926 and 1931.
The fourth and last tranche of Baldessari Collection consists of drawings, tridimensional models and prototypes, water colours, collages and sculptures, including the relevant plans for the Craia Bar in Milan (1930), the Padiglione Breda alla Fiera Internazionale di Milano (1951), several paintings of the American period (1939-1948), set studies for plays performed in New York.
The whole Baldessari collection is accompanied by an analytic inventory and by digitized photo documentation. The first two tranches have been scientifically catalogued, with Sesamo 4.1
programme. The catalogue in Sesamo of the first two tranches of the Archive can be read at CASVA and on the Regione Lombardia’s website: http://lombardiabeniculturali.it/archivi.
In 2005 Graziella Leyla CiagÓ published the volume: Luciano Baldessari e Milano. Progetti e realizzazioni in Lombardia (Quaderni del CASVA, 4), with essays about the architect’s projects.
The Baldessari Collection belongs to the CASVA and is kept at SforzaCastle. It can be consulted by appointment both in digitized format and in original, if necessary.
The Archive was ordered in : Graziella Leyla CiagÓ (edited by), Il censimento delle fonti. Gli archivi di architettura in Lombardia, Milano 2003, p.32-33 (Quaderni del CASVA, 1).